Here is it, the last chapter on "The Man from Wild South"! It is a very long half-chapter and I have edited away many details so that it is less draggy. Compared to other stories especially super-sweet ones like "Rice Pot", this is really an average story so I am glad you have stuck it through to the end. Without further ado, here it goes…
Chapter 10 (Part 2)
A few days later, Shang Guan Jing walks down a familiar path leading to a bamboo gate. As she passes the gate and crosses the herb and vegetable garden, Yan Ying appears behind her. "Young Mistress, you are finally back."
He is as monotonous and expressionless as ever, but somehow, Shang Guan Jin senses that he is smiling and happy to see her. "Yan Ying, are you smiling?"
He replied in an equally flat-tone. "Yes, I am."
"Um, that's good to know."
"Good is the right word, Young Mistress. If you continue to stay away, there will come the day when Young Master finally sorted out his thoughts. And when that happens, he will use whatever…. methods to get you back, even if he has to drag, drug, and kidnap you home."
Shang Guan Jing is very sure that there is an "underhand" somewhere in his sentence and takes a deep breath. "How is he?"
"He is not well. Young Mistress will need to be careful when dealing with him."
He disappears into the shadows before she can ask more, just as Zhu Yu appears from around a corner. "Young Mistress, is that you?"
Seeing that it is indeed Shang Guan Jing, the maid runs up to her and jogs her arm excitedly. ""Young Mistress, oh Young Mistress! Why did you leave us for so long?" She starts sobbing. "Young Master has been in a foul mood for ages and he is so scary! He seldom talks and keeps making thunder roll all the time! Young Mistress, can you please stop ignoring him? If you do, we will all suffer."
As she sobs in earnest, Young Mistress hugs her small frame and pats her back. "Zhu You, I have travelled a long way and am dusty and dirty. Can you prepare a bath for me?"
In a flash, Zhu Yu's lights up, all tears gone. "Leave it to me!"
While she is bathing, Zhu Yu chatters none stop. She tells Shang Guan that all servants in the house are conjured from paper but only Niu Da and herself resembles real people because Feng Jin has dripped 3 drops of his blood on their paper when he was conjuring them. As she helps Shang Guan Jing puts on a fresh set of clothing, Zhu Yu hems and haws until she gathers sufficient courage. "Young Mistress, I think Young Master is serious about you. Although he can be an asshole, i think he likes you a lot. Can you find it in your heart to forgive him?"
The expletive is nearly inaudible but Zhu Yu looks around furtively nonetheless, least she is overheard. Shang Guan Jing has her doubts but she says nothing as she fastens her robes and walks soundlessly towards the bedroom. There used to be a beautiful curtain of wooden beads hanging over the door but she remembered the day it was destroyed. Although the curtain is gone, Shang Guan Jing can almost hear the soothing sound of beads rising and falling as she walks pass the door. As she steps into the room, a hoarse voice calls out from behind the bed curtains. "Who is it?"
Feng Jin has never been this sick his whole life. Not only is his body in constant pain, he has been plagued by loneliness which is new to him. Though he has been living in isolation for a long time, he has never really felt lonely till now. And when he does manage to sleep, there is little respite to be found in the darkness as he often dreams of a woman who is forever just beyond his touch, no matter how hard he runs after her.
He may not have blacked out since the day at Yu Ling peak but his physical condition has not improved much. At this rate, even he has to question if he will recover. And now, he has to deal with whoever-is-the-person who has managed to sneak past Yan Ying and get into his room. "Who is it?!"
His eyes are cold with warning but when the bed curtains parted, he is unprepared to see a beautiful woman illuminated by the moonlight. She is wearing a loose robe for sleeping and she looks fresh from bath, with her hair slightly damp at the tendrils. "You…you…you…"
"I am back." she says simply and sits down beside him.
She is unprepared to see how haggard and sick he looks. The fiery patches on his face stand in stark contrast against his pale skin and his eyes are sunken. His breathing came in short, shallow spurts as if the simple act of breathing is an arduous task, she reaches out to take his pulse. True enough, his qi is in a mess and there seems to be several ailments with his body. When he has gotten over his shock, he pulls out his hand out from under hers.
"I remember someone saying that Nan Man is far, far away and that she is not coming back. Since that is the case, why have you returned?"
"I have no choice actually."
Her bland tone and distance manner triggers his alarm bells. He fears the reason she has appeared and bites out forcefully. "If you are hoping for me to give you a divorce letter, I have 2 words for you. No. Way!"
"Why not?" She takes off her shoes calmly and places them neatly on the floor. She swings her legs onto the bed and lowers the bed curtains.
"What do…do you mean…mean… by ‘why not?'" Feng Jin stares at her fair toes peeking out from the blanket and glowers at them.
"I am so mad at you, do you know that?"
Tonight may not have a full moon but Feng Jin can feel the blood pooling at the base of his throat and a familiar pressure building up behind his eyes, ears and nose. He knows he is not far from bleeding again turns his face away to hide his condition. However, he has barely moved a muscle when a shadow falls over his face and he is pinned to the bed. Her face looms up in close when he breathes in the same air that she exhales, he lost whatever is remaining of his strength. What is she doing?!
"I hate you. Hate you. Really, really hate you."
Feng Jin can feel the blood roaring behind his ears but he stares transfixed at her bright eyes, just a hand's distance away. He feels a drop of fluid on his face, followed by another drop, then another and realizes belatedly that she is crying.
"Jing…." He wants to say something to comfort her but she shuts him up by kissing him. It is a forceful kiss with no room for negotiations and he has no clue what her action means. But no matter what, her much-awaited scent calls to him like a siren that it wasn't long before he is kissing her back in earnest.
Unfortunately, if he thinks he can have any form of control tonight, he is in for disappointment. He is physically weak to begin with and she has too much pent-up frustrations. Shang Guan Jing has no intention of making things easy for him and runs her hands over him unceremoniously. When he tries to move, she would quickly suppress him and when it happens a few times, he slowly realize what she wants and stills.
"You are definitely the person I hated most in my life." She is still crying but it does not stop her from grinding her lips against his in a bruising manner. Thinking of the lies that has spring from these lips, she bites at them. Hard. Her nose trails down his neck and when she reaches its base, she buries her head in the nock and bites on his shoulder too for good measure.
His lips singe, his shoulder stings and pretty soon, he is tingling all over as an angry woman nips at whichever part of his antimony she fancies. He did not move a muscle as he is stripped bare and unleashes her anger on him. Does he hurt? Yes. Is he protesting? Hell no. He is only relieved that she has finally found an outlet for her anger and even if she wants his life at this instant, he would not have hesitated giving it to her. His only insistence is that she does not leave him but beyond that, she can do anything she wants.
After a long time, Shang Guan Jing looks at the slightly bloodied body beneath hers and feels a fresh wave of anger. This man is poison and unfortunately for her, she has drunk this poison before knowing that there is no cure. She is still angry and wonders if she crying harder will make her feel better, but she doubts it. Staring at him, she try for some answers. "When you married me, do you truly mean for me to be your wife?"
"What about you? Who do you truly care for in your heart? Your teacher? Shi Jie, Shi Mei, or your dratted Er Shi Ge?"
His petulant tone makes her smile a little. "Feng Jin, I like you and married you in good faith. But I really, really feel like throttling you right now. No one else has made me care so much for him until I cannot leave his side. When I was with Er Shi Ge, life was sweet and safe. When he broke off with me, I was in agony because I do not like him just as a man; he was also my brother and family. But when he betrayed our sect and Teacher, he has crossed the line and I can never, ever forgive him for what he did. I promised myself that I will never care for him again and I have fulfilled that promise to myself."
"But you are different. You have deceived me, kept things from me and played me like a fool. How can you do this to me when I like you enough to have married you? Why did you toy with my feelings? If you are only pulling a prank, why did you not stop before we marry and bond us for life?"
Feng Jin listens intently as Shang Guan Jing continues. "And do you know what? My intentions are still true. I can be your 'medicine' - that is one reason that you hit on me, right? To heal you? And looking at your current state, I think you are seriously in need of medicine."
She did not wait for him to respond before she starts eating him although it is supposed to be the other way around. Feng Jin wants to tell her that he is alright but it is difficult to think, much less talk, when he is restrained and her sweet movement is stirring up an inferno in his blood.
So from feeble struggle, to passive submission and total surrender, Feng Jin was force-fed his medicine as he is scratched, bruised and bitten all over. So long as she is with him; so long as she is no longer angry with him, he does not mind being her 'medicine' too
When Feng Jin wakes up, it is already evening time the next day.
For the first time in weeks, he can breathe normally, which means that yesterday is not a figment of his imagination. Shang Guan Jing has indeed returned and she is still his most-effective medicine.
But she is not in the room and the bedding besides him is neatly folded away, as if no one has slept on them. Has he only dream of her afterall? He checks his hands and when he sees that his skin is unmarked, he knows for sure that he has indeed taken his 'medicine' last night. But where is she? He dons on some cloths hastily and dashes out of the room.
None of his servants can tell him where she is, until he sees Zhu Yu, who tells him that Shang Guan Jing has left for the village since morning. She mentioned that she has been away for too long and needs to check the progress of her students.
Her answer does not make Feng Jin any less anxious and he has a bad feeling that his happiness is slipping away. He needs to holds on to her tightly and he was about to make his way to the village when Yan Ying appears and informs him that Shang Guan Jing has left the village and is now near the swamp in the forest. Feng Jin changes direction and is gone before Yan Ying can complete his sentence.
The moment he stops into the forest, he stretches out his hands and senses. All is tranquil and he can sense no disturbance. He hurries towards the direction of the swamp but when he finally sees Shang Guan Jing, his eyes turns cold. Shang Guan Jing is squatting on the ground and a muddy, dirty creature is clinging to her hand. At the sound of his footsteps, she looks up and he can see the tears in her eyes.
Feng Jin realizes that he is more than happy if she is crying over him, but if she is crying over someone else, his mood will sour very quickly. Like now. "You. Come over."
Shang Guan Jing ignores him and tries to dab away her tears. "I came here to look at the place where the fight took place but I have not expected to find her. Feng Jin, my eyes are not playing tricks on me is it? I found my Shi Jie, she is still alive." She looks at the messy, dirty woman clinging on to her and tries to smile, although it does not make her look any happier. "But Feng Jin, she seems to have lost her memory. She doesn't recognize me and when I took her pulse, I realize that she has lost her martial arts. The only saving grace is that she still remembers one person…."
Li Yun Yi looks up at her hopefully through her dirt-streak face. "Have you seen Bo Lan Zhou? He said that he will marry me and make me his bride. Can you bring me to him?"
Feng Jin can feel his blood starting to boil and he has to step on it least his internal organs get fried. He marches up to his wife and grabs her hand. "Get up!"
For a moment, Li Yun Yi thought that Bo Lan Zhou has appeared and jumps to her feet. But when she sees a stranger with thunderous expressions, she quivers. "No, you are not Bo Lan Zhou. You are not the person I am looking for." She grabs Shang Guan Jing's other hand tightly. "Can you bring me to look for Bo Lan Zhou?"
With 2 people grabbing on to her, Shang Guan Jing has no choice but to stand up. She closes her hands around both their hands and grab on to them firmly.
"Jing, let go of her!" Feng Jing tries to laser Li Yun Yi with his eyes, which only sends the frightened woman to hide behind Shang Guan Jing. When he sees that Shang Guan Jing is looking at him with tears in her eyes, his frustration boils over. "Why are you crying over someone who is totally not worth it?"
Instead of coming to her senses, Shang Guan Jing cries in grief much to his consternation. "Shi Jie truly loves Er Shi Ge. Just look at her; she has forgotten everything and everyone but him! I cannot help but think how pitiful women can be. Once they fall in love, her man will become the centre of her existence. And when he is gone, or if he betrays her, her world will fall apart and she becomes miserable."
Feng Jin mutters. "True, it can be quite miserable." He sounds as if men can suffer the same, miserable fate and Shang Guan Jing considers him carefully. If he truly understands, could it be that he has fallen in love (maybe with her?). Before she can be certain, he repeats. "Let go of her."
Her attitude is firm. "I can't."
"Let go of her."
She is torn, but she shakes her head resolutely.
He rubs his temple with his free hand. "Then you let go of me!"
Despite his words, his hand tightens over hers and Shang Guan Jing is confused over his conflicting actions. He looks … nervous, and something inside her relaxed. If she does let go as he has demanded, she doubts she can handle the fallout. "I am not letting go."
When he visibly relaxed, she mentally shakes her head. To have fallen for such a childish man, really, her fate is to be pitied. And true to form, he is still insistent you let go of her."
"You… You… look, I am also serious."
"I am serious about you."
Shang Guan Jin has not expect his sudden love confession and to be frank, even Feng Jin is surprised by his own declaration. He is a little embarrassed but it feels like a rock has rolled off his chest and he is determined to set the record straight once and for all.
"I am serious when I asked you to marry me."
She has to make sure. "What are you serious about?"
"I am serious about being with you my whole life. Even if I have to trick you, dupe you …." He suddenly glares at her. "Why are you crying?"
When she only continues to cry and laugh, he has to take out a handkerchief and wipe her face. He wants to kiss her to make her feel better, but he caught sight of Li Yun Yi cowering behind her and gets all riled up again. "That woman behind you – are you going let go of her now?"
Feng Jin fumes.
But since there is nothing he can do to her, what else can he do? He turns around and walks away. "Whatever you want!"
But they are still linked and in the end, all three left the forest hands in tow.
Although she cannot forgive her Da Shi Jie, Shang Guan Jing finds that she cannot abandon her, especially now when she is both physically and mentally unwell. After cleaning her up and feeding her, she let her sleep in her old bed in the guestroom while she contemplates what she should do next.
She knows that Feng Jin does not like her presence in their house but he has conceded in the end. While they were walking out of the swamp, Feng Jin has turn back every now and then and just thinking of his grouchy expression is enough to make her feel like laughing.
Thinking of the man, Feng Jin opens the door of the guestroom and strides in. After glaring at the woman on the guest bed, he leans over and scoops up his wife who is sitting beside the woman. He carries her all the way to their bedroom before finally placing her on the bed.
He is still angry at her for bringing her Shi Jie to their home but his kiss on her cheek is gentle. He has probably chosen a difficult woman to love but he has no regrets. One kiss leads to another and pretty soon, they are warring between the sheets. Their loving is at moments rough, at moments gentle but this time, Shang Guan Jing can see his feelings clearly, be it be irritation, tenderness or lust.
Finally when they are finished and exhausted, he makes her to lie on her side so that he can hug her from behind. Although he cannot see her face, he hears her clearly. "I want you to promise me 3 things."
He narrows his eyes but he listens. "What are your conditions?"
"First, I want you to help erase my Shi Jie's memory. The person whom she is looking for is no longer alive and in her current state, I doubt I can get her to understand and accept the fact. If she can forget everything, at least she can move on."
He toys with her fingers with one hand. "I can help you but I have my condition. Once her condition has stabilized, you must send her away. I do not want anyone else to stay in the bamboo house because this place ours and ours only."
Shang Guan Jing nods. "Once my Da Shi Jie is better, I can arrange for her to live in the village and get someone to help look after her. I can check on her every day after class, and if she really cannot adapt to the life here, I can bring her back to Yu Ling peak…."
"Are you still thinking about leaving?!" His hands tighten around her waist but she makes no move to dislodge him even as tightens his grip. "Listen to me…."
"I am not going to!" He wants to kiss her into submission but she blocks his advances firmly. As they glare at each other, she tries to get him to listen. "This leads on to my second request. I came back because I am worried about you and I have yet to settle all the things back at Yu Ling Sect. Yue Ying has left with her husband but Qing Qing is still there. She may be mature for her age, but she is still a young girl who needs looking after and …. I think she has special powers, just like you. Without teacher to guide her, I worry that she may not know how to control or manage her gift. Can I bring her to Nan Man and get you to coach her?"
She is asking at him for help and he finds it hard to turn her down when she is looking at him like that. However… "You are not going back."
"No buts. I can get Zi Ying to bring your Xiao Shi Mei to Nan Man. If she refuses to follow, it should not be too difficult to tie her up and haul her over."
She is glaring at him but does she think he is afraid of something that can neither wound or irritate him? Huh! "So what?"
"Don't you do anything rash!"
"I like to be rash. What can you do to me?" He nips at her delectable neck. "If you want to hate me, you can go ahead, but there is no way I am going to let you leave. What is your third condition?"
His may be lean but his arms are like steel bands and she finds that she is unable to dislodge him. She can feel that he is starting to burn up and the fire is spreading to her. Shang Guan Jing struggles to stay coherent and tries to settle the last issue. "My third condition is that you must bring me to meet my in-laws. Do you know that many of them attend my class? Just today, I received a long lecture from your great-grandmother on why I have not paid my official respects to her at the ancestral house. Until now, I still cannot figure out why am I the one to get the lecture when you are the one at fault?"
Feng Jin touches her nose with his and looks deep into her eyes. "Fine, I'll bring you home so long as you promise never to leave me for the rest of our lives."
It may sound like a command but Shang Guan Jing knows that he is feeling uncertain deep down. She hugs him tightly to reassure him, and studies his attractive features seriously. . "You know, I have never intended to marry a super-handsome dude."
"It is too late for regrets." He says mater-of-fact. "But if you are really bothered, you can always keep me at an arm's length and pretty soon, I'll revert to being a freak and be ugly for as long as you want me to be. Provided you don't miss the pleasure I can bring you." So saying, he pushes into her onto the mattress and leave her no room for protest.
Although she is starting to feel dizzy, Shang Guan Jin feels like laughing at the same time. This man has no qualms about using whatever method he has just to get his way but she can be nice.
She is not letting go of him for the rest of her life either.
– End –
MB: There, I have done it! my fourth short recap/translation after "Gentleman Free-Floating Cloud", "A Straight Road", and "Pursuit of A Murderer into Liao Yue". After a hectic 2016, I was worried that I will take a full year to do a short story which is why I have translated 3 full chapters of the story before I start posting it on Cloud Manor. By then, I have realized that this is not a story to recap but I took a chance as I do not want to waste 3 chapters while I figure out how to make the whole story come together.
I have read a book review on "Man From Wild South" and I totally agree with the commenter who said that Feng Jin is the heart and soul of this story. He is not an honorable man and can be volatile, difficult, plus a near-rapist to boot. But I sense that he is not totally faking his gentle moments with Shang Guan Jing and even ugly, bad eggs must have felt lonely, maybe even inferior when growing up. He should have been happily catching flies and robbers in Nan Man all by his lone self, but he is lucky one heroic woman tumbles into his path and gave him his happy ending.
Hope you have found your happy ending too. Until I have another story to share, stay happy and well.